The swimming competitions at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro have reached fever pitch.
USA’s Michael Phelps and Simone Manuel won gold medals Thursday night, making swimming history that will resonate far beyond the confines of the Olympic Aquatics Stadium.
Phelps won the gold medal in the men’s 200m individual medley final, dispatching rival Ryan Lochte and the rest of the competition with startling ease. Phelps became the first swimmer to win four consecutive Olympic gold medals in the same event.
Just 38 minutes after winning, Phelps progressed to the final of the 100m butterfly. He accepted his record 22nd gold medal in-between races.
Manuel tied Canada’s Penny Oleksiak for first place in the women’s 100m freestyle final. While they both won gold medals and set new Olympic records, Manuel’s triumph represents something greater than a mere sporting achievement.
Earlier in the evening, Ryan Murphy continued the United States’ dominance of the 200m backstroke.
Japan’s Rie Kaneto won the women’s 200m breaststroke. Russia’s Yulia Efimova and China’s Jinglin Shi took home the silver and bronze medals, respectively.
Thursday night wasn’t entirely glorious for American swimmers. Missy Franklin, who won four gold medals at the 2012 Games in London, failed to progress from the 200m backstroke semifinals. She’ll leave Rio empty-handed, as far as medals are concerned.
Thumbnail photo via Rob Schumacher/USA TODAY Sports Images